Drayage truck projects can qualify for grants worth up to 50 percent of their cost.
A green supply chain is great for business and the environment, but it’s not every day organizations get an opportunity for help moving their sustainability goals forward. So it was terrific news when EPA last week announced a new opportunity for funding to reduce diesel emissions pollution. Goods movement projects, such as those involving freight and port operations, will be given priority for the more than $13 million in Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grant funding. As the deadline for applications is June 15, it’s important to get to work now.
Since EDF has partnered on a variety of projects in the past to bring these federal funds to Texas to help us meet our air quality challenges, we’ve prepared a DERA 101 primer with suggestions to consider for entities considering the opportunity.
Partnering for clean air in Houston (Roger Guenther, Port of Houston; Gina McCarthy, EPA; Janiece Longoria, Port of Houston; Jack Steele, Houston-Galveston Area Council; Elena Craft, EDF)
In our efforts to improve air quality in Texas, we often work with diverse partners on projects that deliver emission reductions or bring clean technologies to market. We help pursue funding opportunities for projects whenever we can, to ensure that that they have the resources they need for success. So we are pleased to report two successful awards funded from the EPA to reduce emissions from drayage trucks operating at the Port of Houston. Nearly $2 million in federal funding, along with more than $2.5 million in local funds, will be used to clean up some of the dirtiest vehicles operating at the port – drayage trucks.
- The first project is a partnership between the Port of Houston Authority and the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) to replace 14 drayage trucks that carry containers and other cargo to and from the port.
- The second project will be administered directly by the Port of Houston Authority. Two companies that operate at the port, Richardson Companies and Gulf Winds, will replace 25 drayage trucks from their existing fleets.
Calling all heavy-duty truck owners who work at the Port of Houston! Cold, hard cash is available for the purchase of new trucks that are more fuel-efficient and cleaner-burning, providing up to 80 percent of the cost of a new truck.
The Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) will be hosting a Drayage Truck Event at the Port of Houston on Saturday, November 1, from 10:00am to 1:30pm, to share information about available grants and loans in order to help owners replace older, dirtier vehicles with new, cleaner ones (see how others have taken advantage of these opportunities in the past).
Why is funding like this available to help someone pay for a new truck? By replacing an older truck with a new one, we all benefit from improved air quality. These benefits include:
- better health, since cleaner air reduces the onset of asthma and cancer and helps avoid the loss of work and schooldays, and
- economic advancement, as these programs help the state and city progress towards meeting critical air quality standards. Read More
Delivery trucks, wheel-loaders, school buses, and locomotives all have one thing in common – an internal combustion engine that keeps these machines churning for years. Maybe for too many years. The useful life for some of these engines, especially diesel engines, can last decades, deterring owners from upgrading to newer models with greater fuel economy and operational efficiency. Plus, these machines can be very expensive, making it difficult for owners to replace older equipment once the newest, cleanest technology becomes available. From an environmental perspective, this is bad news. Engines emit a variety of dangerous pollutants that adversely affect our health, including particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). So without the means to upgrade polluting, heavy-duty engines, what can owners do?
Enter the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP).
First, EPA established more protective emissions standards that require new engines to be many times cleaner compared to older models. These strong standards have helped drive innovations in engine technology so that emissions are now a fraction of what they once were. Here’s a breakdown: Read More
Despite the well-known health risks from diesel emissions and the economic consequences of unhealthy air, clean air projects are often stalled because they lack money. Fortunately, funding options for transportation-related clean air initiatives are available at the national, regional, and state levels. One of the key national sources of funding has been the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), administered through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). DERA provides up to $100 million each year through 2016 for reducing emissions from existing diesel engines, and recently, EPA announced that roughly $9 million is available for agencies seeking to undergo clean diesel projects.
DERA typically funds replacement, repower, and retrofit projects for diesel vehicles and equipment to improve air quality and public health by reducing hazardous air pollutants, like particulate matter and smog-forming pollutants, among others. Through the Request for Proposals, eligible applications are required to have a partnership with a local government or metropolitan planning organization, a public or private fleet of vehicles or equipment, and other interested entities (e.g., technology providers, community groups, etc.). Because of these unique partnerships, DERA has been able to make federal dollars go even further. The DERA partnership approach attracts public and private funding that, when combined with federal funds, allow for more emissions reductions. Both partners stand to gain a great deal in the way of enhancing business operations and improving local health and are eager to participate. In the end, for each federal dollar awarded, as much as $3 from non-federal sources is added to the project, and together these funds provide up to $7 – $18 in public health benefits. Read More
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Courtesy of Juan Manuel Salazar
The following story about the clean truck program in Houston appears in the Fall 2013 issue of EDF’s Solutions newsletter. As we have highlighted before, ports are hotspots for air pollution and the best way to mitigate emissions from ships, trucks and other transportation equipment is to engage key stakeholders and find common sense solutions that provide access to cleaner, more efficient technologies. Below is a success story from Houston: Since the H-GAC Drayage Loan Program began in 2010, it has replaced almost 200 of the oldest, most polluting trucks with newer, cleaner ones.
When Juan Manuel Salazar was hauling industrial materials all over Houston in his 1989 International truck, his two daughters worried. “They were concerned about me driving all day, then working half the night to fix the truck,” Salazar says. So it was no surprise that, as an owner-operator, Salazar jumped to qualify for a combined grant and low-interest loan program tailored by EDF and its partners such as the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC). Salazar invested in a cleaner 2012 Kenworth truck that uses less gas and goes farther without problems. “My daughters convinced me,” he says.
A few years before, an emissions inventory found that one-third of the toxic air pollution at the Port of Houston was spewed out by its 3,000-truck drayage fleet. The result was the loan program. Since its creation, almost 200 trucks in Houston have been updated. Read More